Lightning Network transactions have successfully deployed on Bitcoin’s mainnet, marking the first step in a tech upgrade, which will likely transform user experience.
Lightning Hits Bitcoin Mainnet
As cryptocurrency trader and commentator Vortex noted on Christmas Day, Lightning’s RC1 has had a tentative release and “mainnet (transactions) have been completed.”
The Lightning Network is perhaps the most hotly-awaited so-called ‘layer two’ upgrade for the Bitcoin network. Once active, users will be able to send BTC funds practically instantaneously for next to no fee.
A beta release for the mainnet is due later, Vortex notes, but users can already research how to take advantage of the implementation ahead of time.
In case you missed it, #lightning RC1 has been released and mainnet tx's have been completed. The mainnet beta is on the way but you can begin researching how to implement #lightning into your technology stack now. https://t.co/g62KEOtDmnhttps://t.co/HQZbsVQjtS pic.twitter.com/nkwvXGc9z8
— Vortex (@theonevortex) December 26, 2017
A testnet platform for Lightning transactions currently allows anyone to create a wallet and get a sense of how the technology works using test bitcoins (tBTC). Transactions using the tool complete in several seconds.
Stifling Bitcoin Cash’s Criticism
Every advance in Lightning is music to the ears of frustrated investors eager to focus on Bitcoin as a currency for smaller amounts in addition to its use as an investment tool.
As mainstream consumers continue to pile into cryptocurrency en masse, Bitcoin fees this month surpassed an eye-watering 1000 satoshis per byte, resulting in giant miner incentives to process payments at a comparatively very slow rate.
While fees from SegWit addresses are lower, many major wallet providers and payment processors still do not support it, worsening value-for-money for users and businesses transacting in Bitcoin.
Commenting on the project’s outlook for next year, Lightning’s co-founder Elizabeth Stark said she “looked forward to way more of what no one has ever done.”
Yup, we had several moments this year with the @lightning team where we were like, welp, no one has ever done this before. ?
Look forward to way more of what no one has ever done in 2018! ?
— elizabeth stark (@starkness) December 24, 2017
Bitcoin itself meanwhile has managed to withstand recent pressures to come off lows resulting from last week’s $6000 price correction.
As Bitcoinist reports today, positive belief in Bitcoin’s technical outlook is returning as prices hover above $15,000, while improvements to transaction fees and times would negate a key criticism fuelling the popularity of rival fork Bitcoin Cash.
What do you think about the future of the Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Emil Jarfelt/Good Free Photos, Twitter